More than just a cookbook, Decolonize Your Diet redefines what is meant by “traditional” Mexican food by reaching back through hundreds of years of history to reclaim heritage crops as a source of protection from modern diseases of development. Authors Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel are life partners; when Luz was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, they both radically changed their diets and began seeking out recipes featuring healthy, vegetarian Mexican foods. They promote a diet that is rich in plants indigenous to the Americas (corn, beans, squash, greens, herbs, and seeds), and are passionate about the idea that Latinxs in America, specifically Mexicans, need to ditch the fast food and return to their own culture’s food roots for both physical health and spiritual fulfillment. This vegetarian cookbook features over 100 colorful, recipes based on Mesoamerican cuisine and also includes contributions from indigenous cultures throughout the Americas, such as Kabocha Squash in Green Pipian, Aguachile de Quinoa, Mesquite Corn Tortillas, Tepary Bean Salad, and Amaranth Chocolate Cake. Steeped in history but very much rooted in the contemporary world, Decolonize Your Diet will introduce readers to the energizing, healing properties of a plant-based Mexican American diet. Full-color throughout.
About the Author:
Luz Calvo and Catriona R. Esquibel
Catrióna Rueda Esquibel received her PhD in the History of Consciousness Program at UC Santa Cruz (1999). She is an associate professor in Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University. She is the author of With her Machete in her Hand (U of Texas Press, 2006) and has also published poetry, drama, and literary criticism. Her father's family has lived in northern New Mexico for more than twelve generations. On her mother's side, her great-great-grandmother, great-grandmother, and grandmother all migrated from Sonora to Los Angeles between 1913 and 1919. Each of these women made a living cooking for Mexican migrant workers and Chicanos/as in Los Angeles. Catriona is interested in diet and diabetes because her father and many of his siblings were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In one generation, as they moved from New Mexico to Los Angeles, their diet went from grass fed beef, home-raised chickens, and home-grown vegetables and local herbs on the ranch to highly processed foods.
Luz Calvo earned a PhD in the History of Consciousness Program at UC Santa Cruz in 2001. Luz is a professor of Ethnic Studies at Cal State East Bay, where they teach a course entitled, "Decolonize Your Diet: Food Justice in Communities of Color." Luz traces their food genealogy to her paternal grandparents, who ran a Mexican restaurant in San Fernando, California, from the 1940s through the 1970s. The Calvo business began when the grandparents began selling tacos to the cannery workers, with their grandfather purchasing fresh, seasonal ingredients from the LA Central market, and their grandmother preparing and packaging the tacos. In 2006, Luz was diagnosed with breast cancer. This diagnosis led Luz to intensive research on food and their commitment to eating clean, whole, organic food. For Luz, every meal is an opportunity to prevent the cancer from recurring.
Luz and Catriona are grateful for their life in the Fruitvale neighborhood in Oakland. They raise chickens and grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs on their small urban farm, as they study traditional Mesoamerican foods and experiment with traditional cooking techniques.